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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 49
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Getting In Shape For the Coming Season
Saturday 3 March 2012   —   Category: Miscellaneous

Hiking became a hobby of mine during the eight years I lived in Switzerland during the 1990’s. Just about a year ago, I discovered Hiking Oregon’s History by the famed Oregon author William L. Sullivan, about five-and-a-half years after moving to Oregon. Better late than never!

My Sand Mountain Photo Outing and Sand Mountain 2011 photo album were a direct result of reading this book. In fact, I was so impressed with Bill’s book, that I bought a couple of his other awesome books during 2011: I was even fortunate enough to see and hear Bill in person a couple of months ago at the Corvallis Audubon Society. During that presentation, he talked about one of his newer books, Oregon Favorites: Trails and Tales.

I am right in the middle of Oregon’s Favorites — boy, it sure is giving me tons of ideas for photographic hikes this coming season! There are actually so many great places to hike in Oregon that it will most likely take me years to work through the list!

Because Hiking Oregon’s History and Oregon’s Favorites are hiking books with a wide scope — covering the entire state of Oregon — I decided to pick up all of Bill’s more specific hiking books for the various regions of Oregon: It seems like my body will wear out before I’ll ever run out of photographic hikes in Oregon! Speaking of which — in Bill’s book Listening For Coyote, in which he chronicles his amazing 1,360-mile, 65-day solo backpacking trek across Oregon, he mentions in the prologue the physical preparations he made for his gruelling journey:

Six months before the start of my trip I started my training with what seemed like a very long five-mile walk across town. After three months I could knock off the five miles in sixty-five minutes. I moved up to eleven-mile hikes with a light pack. I added weight to the pack until I could make the eleven-mile trip in two hours and twenty-five minutes, packing fifty pounds of firewood. I hoped that would be good enough.
Inspired by Bill’s virtuous example, I have started my own training regimen, while the weather is still bad, to get myself in shape for the coming hiking season. The photo to the right shows me on the treadmill in the garage, complete with my new photo backpack (more on that later) with 32 pounds of sandbags inside! Adding the weight of the backpack itself, plus a few other things inside, the total load on my back is around 45 pounds! I set the treadmill for its steepest incline (to simulate hiking in the Cascades!), and chug along at two-and-a-half miles per hour for nearly half an hour. It’s not much, but at least it’s a start.

On days when it’s not raining, I put on my hiking boots and the same heavy backpack, and take a one-and-a-half-mile walk around the neighborhood. The neighbors sure must think that’s a sight! Whether inside or out, I've always got my iPod to listen to the unabridged, 3,600-minute audiobook version of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Now, that will last me through a LOT of training!

In the evenings, I slowly make my way through Bill’s hiking guides, matching his directions with the topographical maps on my iPad (that topic will have to wait for a future blog entry!), and dreaming of the time that the Oregon rainy season will be over and I can hit the trail with my camera equipment. Stay tuned!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 49
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 49
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